So far, the only countries to have approved the Microsoft-Activision merger are Brazil, Serbia, and Chile. Regulators in the European Union, the UK, and the United States have all issued objections, which has led to Microsoft making grand promises to keep Call of Duty on its rival platforms.
Another nation that’s holding out on green-lighting the $70 billion deal is China, but maybe not for much longer. According to Equity Report, the Chinese government is going to approve the merger in the coming days.
According to Equity Report, two antitrust lawyers working on the deal said that "China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) is likely to approve Microsoft's acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard despite the new process being slowed down by potential complaints."
China’s SAMR is likely to approve Microsoft’s acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard, despite the review process being slowed down by potential complaints, two Chinese antitrust lawyers who have advised competitors of the parties told @equityreportuk— Equity Report (@equityreportuk) February 23, 2023
Those complaints are not coming from Tencent, which has reportedly come out in favor of the merger. That's after Activision Blizzard's existing partnership with NetEase fell apart, resulting in Overwatch 2 and World of Warcraft both going offline in the lucrative Chinese mainland. It's possible that Tencent is supporting the merger now with the hopes of picking up a similar deal with Microsoft after the merger happens. Or it could just be that Tencent is generally in favor of mergers because it's usually the one doing the merging.
Outside of China, Microsoft met with European regulators in Brussels earlier this week where it announced a ten-year contract with both Nvidia and Nintendo to ensure Call of Duty will come to both GeForce Now and the Nintendo Switch after the deal is approved. However, Microsoft said that Sony refuses to sign a similar deal or even negotiate at all. Sony has the lion's share of the home console market, according to Microsoft, and it's doing everything it can to hold up the Activision Merger in order to protect its market lead.
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